The candidate who carried the banner for the federal Conservatives in the 2021 federal election in hopes of unseating Churchill-Keewatinook Aski MP Niki Ashton is stepping forward into the political arena once again.
Charlotte Larocque, a former Thompson Chamber of Commerce president, was announced May 9 by the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives as their candidate in the Thompson byelection that will happen in less than a month.
“I'm excited to run for the PC party of Manitoba and advocate for affordability, stronger health care and a more resilient economy,” said Larocque in a news release. “The PC party is the only party that will focus on real investments, jobs and industry in the north.”
A former resident of Leaf Rapids, Flin Flon, The Pas and Wanless, Larocque will be facing NDP candidate Eric Redhead in the byelection, which was made necessary by the December highway crash death of first-term NDP MLA Danielle Adams, someone Larocque says she respected even if they didn’t always agree.
“Danielle and I may not have ben on the same side politically, but I admired her for her public service to Northern Manitoba,” Larocque said. “It was tragic to lose a member of Manitoba’s legislative assembly. My heart goes out to her family and friends.”
The Manitoba Liberals have already said they will not run a candidate in the Thompson byelection, the date of which will likely be announced this week.
The PC candidate says she has experience working with various industries, communities and governments and in collaboration with First Nations communities. Her top priorities as an MLA would be to strengthen northern health care, develop better infrastructure and unlock resource extraction potential to build the Thompson economy and create good jobs.
During the 2021 federal election campaign, Larocque said advocacy from a representative on the government side of the house is superior to being in opposition, referring to long-time NDP MP Ashton.
In trying to take the Thompson legislature seat for the PCs, Larocque faces daunting history. Kelly Bindle, who beat Steve Ashton in 2016, was the first PC candidate to capture the riding in nearly 40 years and he was defeated handily by Adams in 2019, though his party was re-elected as the provincial government.
“I know that Charlotte will be a fantastic candidate and a great MLA,” said PC leader Heather Stefanson. “Our PC team is excited to have her represent our party in the north.”
Provincial election laws dictate that the Thompson byelection must be held by June 7 at the latest.